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Your Views: Solar activity warms and cools the Earth
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The major computer models used to predict climate change neglect solar influences. Recent studies by scientists around the globe show this to be a serious error.

During the past five years or so, solar scientists have discovered that the sun's influence on Earth's climate varies dramatically. Part of the variance comes from the familiar sunspot cycle (about 11 years), but another part comes from solar reaction to planetary gravity fields.

The planets revolve around the sun at radically differing speeds. The variable rates of rotation mean that every so often, the planets all line up on one side of the sun. This lineup occurs about every 179 years or so, or about every 16th sunspot cycle.

The problem for the sun is that it contains about 98 percent of the total mass of the solar system, but only about 1 percent of the total angular momentum. The sun rotates around the center of rotation of the solar system, but that center does not remain stationary in space, because it is influenced by planetary orbits. During a lineup of planets, the center of rotation moves completely outside the sun, causing the sun to revolve around a little orbit not much larger than the sun itself.

In response, the sun's liquid and gaseous interior gets churned up, leaving less energy to show up as sunspots, so the number of sunspots decreases. Fewer sunspots mean a cooler, quieter sun.

Over the past 500 years or so, the sun has gone through two notable downturns in sunspot numbers, known as the Maunder Minimum (1640-1700) and the Dalton Minimum (1800-1925). In both cases, the Earth's response to decreased sunspot numbers seems to have been a notable cooling. This will soon come to a test, because the next 179 year lineup is at hand now.

Understanding of solar influences on climate is just beginning, and should be very important in the next several years. Look into the article at www.griffith.edu.au/conference/ics2007/pdf/ICS176.pdf, which is an informative overview of recent solar research.

The upshot is that no radical policy for control of carbon dioxide emissions is warranted. If the sun is the major actor, there is nothing at all we can do about it.

WT "Ted" Hinds
Gainesville

Closer look needed at ‘traditionalist' ideals
A recent letter on the purported motivations of "traditionalists" and "progressives" reminded me of Karl Rove's revisionist propaganda about how it was really the Democrats in Congress who pushed the president to go to war in Iraq. But since that writer didn't like looking back 50 years for reminders (slavery, misogyny, fascism), I thought I would point out a few of the more recent "traditional" accomplishments.

In 1998, now presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee signed on to a Southern Baptist Convention declaration that "women should graciously submit" to their husbands authority and help him "manage the household." No doubt a traditional sentiment.

Huckabee also said in 1992 that anyone with AIDS (he called it a "plague") should be "isolated." Another "traditionalist," Fidel Castro, must have sympathized with Huck when the dictator arrested and quarantined all those suspected of HIV infection or homosexuality into one of his lovely barbed-wire "hospitals."

If that news is still too old, consider this: "Traditionalist" George W. Bush hyped an imminent World War III just a few weeks ago when speaking of Iran, even while he knew from reading his own National Intelligence Estimate report in August that Iran had suspended any nuclear pursuits way back in 2003. "Traditionalist" Veep Cheney delayed publication of that pesky NIE report with a series of LIES.

"Traditionalist" and former attorney general Roberto Gonzalez fired eight U.S. attorneys to make room for the traditional, politically-motivated favor-appointments, visited the then-AG under medication in his hospital bed to reauthorize Patriot Act wire-tapping, and then lied to Congress about it. Gonzalez also "traditionally" can't remember doing any of those things.

Former New York mayor and staunch "traditionalist" Rudolph Giuliani had some "progressive ideas" like sensible gun control and reproductive autonomy, but they were drowned out a few days ago by the discovery of his "traditionalist" links to private money from Qatar oil sheiks who tipped off the actual terrorist who planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, even as the FBI closed in. He also has had three traditional marriages, two traditional affairs and one traditional blind-loyalty buddy-cum-Cabinet-nominee eruption.

Not to be outdone, "traditionalist" presidential candidate Willard M. Romney has adopted traditional opinion polls as his barometer of what to think and, only three weeks ago, pronounced that there are not enough Muslims in America to justify nominating one to his cabinet - a theoretical rationalization he hopes no voters will follow in the booth since there are probably not enough Mormons, either.

We could go on and on: Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby, Perino. Traditional mendaciousness abounds. Just 48 hours ago we found out that in 2005 the CIA destroyed the videotaped evidence of our government torturing prisoners. They call it "waterboarding," but that is torture. Just like that endured by soldiers going back to the Inquisition, no matter what our President tells us.

And these "traditionalist" jokers get to twist and writhe and split hairs about the Geneva Convention Against Torture and the Rule of Law? These guys get to send out press releases about false terrorist threats like they did when Bush ran for re-election? And hold phony press conferences with planted questions like FEMA? They get to smear bona fide American war heros like Sens. John McCain and Max Cleland and they expect us to swallow it all in the name of tradition?

I think I'll take progress instead.

Arturo Corso
Gainesville

Government decree: Eat what we tell you
A couple of weeks ago I submitted a letter in which I related a story which many probably scoffed at, in which an illegal dinner was being cooked. Many probably thought that this was an impossibility, but less than a week later an article appeared here in The Times about the FDA considering the regulating of salt content in commercial establishments.

Keep in mind they are not talking about just fast food, but in any place that sells food. This will include everything from the Quick Trip to your favorite restaurants.

I would not be surprised if this trend were to continue, that sugar would soon be regulated as well. This continued intrusion into your daily life is being justified as a health issue. I cannot fathom how you as a person can sit silently by while you are being told what to eat or not eat, what to wear or not wear, and basically what to do and not do on such a micro-management level.

Are you all mice now? Has the politically correctness of this society removed your last vestiges of individualism? It has certainly done so on the federal and state levels of government. This move towards the eliminating of unhealthy habits reminds me of another move to remove unhealthy races.

Where will this cleansing end? When will you say "enough"? Don't worry my dear mice, for soon cheese will be on that list of banned or regulated foods. You will be safe then, right?

Lee Marchetta
Gainesville

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